This issue picks up with the cancelled ‘Mister Terrific’ series ended, after Michael Holt, the titular hero entered a vortex to another world. He arrives and quickly surmises that this isn’t his home world. This world is still recovering from the loss of its heroes, Superman, Batman, and Wonder Woman who perished five years prior battling Steppenwolf and his Parademons from Apokolips. The world also believes that Robin and Supergirl died but the pair were actually teleported to Earth 1, the mainstream DC world. (See ‘Worlds’ Finest: Huntress and Power Girl’.) Strangely, Holt is immediately approached by Terry Sloan (the name of the Golden Age Mister Terrific) who somehow already knows who Holt is. He calls him by his real name, but when Holt feigns ignorance, he replies, “Very well… Mr. Terrific.” Sloan then informs Holt that he is the smartest man on the planet and essentially orders him to get off of it. He is threatened by Holt’s hyper intelligence and the technology from Earth 1 that could be used against him. He all but admits that he is up to no good, so Holt unleashes his T-Sphere, but Sloan came prepared and uses his own invention to take them over and turn them on their creator.
Last issue, recent college graduate and freshly-dumped Jay Garrick was sitting in a field, wondering what to do with himself when what he thought was a meteorite crashed near him. Upon investigation, he instead finds the dying form of Mercury, the last surviving Roman god, the benefactors of Wonder Woman on this Earth. Jay can’t believe what he is seeing and keeps interrupting when Mercury tries to warn him of a great evil threatening Earth… a threat greater than Apokolips! He mainly describes this evil as a darkness, making me wonder if it isn’t The Shade, one of writer James Robinson’s signature characters. Garrick keeps trying to talk Mercury into getting aid, but the god repeatedly says he is dying. As his last act, however, Mercury passes along his powers to Jay, the new Flash of this world. The world army arrives, but Mercury cautions The Flash not to trust anyone, so Jay runs away at super speed.
In Hong Kong, Alan Scott returns after a lengthy business trip and reunites with his lover Sam. Instead of going to Alan’s new penthouse, Sam insists they visit an exclusive luxury spa in the country.
Jay has discovered that he can magically switch back and forth between his Flash costume and street clothes. He is practicing his abilities and discovers he can run up walls and leap across rooftops. As luck would have it, he does parkour which comes in handy. He hears a cry for help and finds a couple being attacked by “Apokorats” super powered vermin, which had previously been relegated to the coasts. He captures the rats at super speed and cautions the couple to seek medical attention, before darting off again. Despite his voice being distorted by his powers, the man he saved comments “I heard him say the word…” (flash). He pushes his speed powers as hard as he can, but when he comes to a stop, it creates a giant trench. He isn’t sure where he winds up, but quickly discovers he has left the U.S. entirely! He is then confronted by a mysterious stranger who tells him “You sure took your time getting here.”
SUPER SPOILERS AHEAD!
I wouldn’t normally include a spoiler this big in a review, but there’s already been a lot of reaction to it on the web, so it’s already out there. So…
Alan and Sam are chatting, mostly about the ledge they are headed toward. Alan talks about how Sam’s business keeps him in China and how difficult it is for them to see one another. He proposes that Sam move his company headquarters to the U.S. Then… he pulls out a ring. Not a power ring. A gold one. Then he makes a different proposal all together. (Take that Northstar!)
Then their train explodes! In one flame-engulfed window a green energy glows.
R.I.P. Samuel “Sam” No Last Name. You were a wonderful, caring
plot device. I’ll never forgot the time you greeted Alan when he got off that plane or your lengthy, lengthy discussion of the lodge where you were headed. You seriously made me want to go there. You were like a human brochure! You’ll be missed. By Alan. I guess.
Is it required that heroes lose loved ones to inspire them? If so, that’s fine, but this one received absolutely zero development. No last name. No personality. So a tragedy, it’s not. Also, after all the hype surrounding the revelation that Alan Scott was now going to be gay, they’ve now taken away his partner (apparently, they could reveal he survived next issue), so he’s going to be a gay man in mourning who is going to be celebate for quite some time, essentially making him asexual. So, that was a lot of hype over nothing. (Once again, I’m just assuming Sam died. We’ll see.)
What about the rest of the issue? It was interesting to recast Terry Sloan as an Ozymandias-type. So much for “Fair Play,” huh?
Jay Garrick getting his powers from Mercury is crap though. We all know he got his powers from sleeping in a puddle of hard water and inhaling its fumes! Just kidding. What a ridiculous origin. (It was the 40s, comics didn’t need to make sense as long as they were fun.) I kind of like that his origin was slightly tied to Wonder Woman. It’s gives some continuity as well as slightly retaining the Justice Society’s whole legacy thing. It also explains his goofy helmet. (I meant goofy in a charming way.) Jay seems a fun character. At first, he is lamenting the fact that he has no future ahead of him. Now he does and he seems like a natural.
I still miss the old Golden Age heroes, but knowing these certainly aren’t them, names not withstanding, just allows me to pretend they’re still out there in the Multiverse somewhere. This is like a neat Elseworlds. It’s well written with lots of little in-jokes and Easter Eggs. Nicola Scott’s artwork is always fantastic! All in all, I am definitely enjoying this book!
EARTH 2 #2
Written by James Robinson
Art by Nicola Scott and Trevor Scott
Cover by Ivan Reis, Joe Prado and Rod Reis